Wade Ortego

Mr. Wade Ortego
Head of Schools

B.S., Business, Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee; M.Ed., Abilene Christian University.

As a leader in classical Christian schools, my great passion is to assist families in the education of their children toward a Biblical worldview that acknowledges Christ as the author and perfecter of the Christian faith. I am committed to the classical Christian model of education and enjoy introducing families to its many benefits. I put a strong emphasis on maintaining and building a student culture.

I was most recently Headmaster of the Classical Christian Academy in Post Falls, Idaho. Prior to that, I led the Classical School of Wichita in Kansas.

My wife, Rachel, and I have been married for over 25 years and have three boys: Matthew, age 21; Elijah, 19; and Jedidiah, 9.

Church Affiliation: The King’s Congregation

Mr. Joe Gerber
Upper School Dean

B.A., History, Boise State University; B.B.S., Biblical Studies, Calvary Chapel Bible College; Masters Social Work, Northwest Nazarene University. I started teaching at The Ambrose School in 2013.

I chose to teach at The Ambrose School because of the profound focus that Ambrose places on teaching the students to love that which is good, beautiful, and true. At The Ambrose School, there is an appreciation for embodied practices meant to move one’s worship toward God. Discipleship involves not only the information provided to another soul but also the proper formation of that soul through the development of a student’s affections. This focus at The Ambrose School is especially suited to the joy that I receive not only in learning but also in growing in my relationship with Christ in a community of like-minded believers. My philosophy of teaching is that learning to love God is not mutually exclusive of learning about God’s wonderful creation. To love God is to love to learn because God made all things to say something very important about Himself. The more we discover truth, the more our hearts will be transformed into the source of all truth, God.

I am married to my amazing wife, Janice. We have four sons and love living in the Boise area because we both grew up here and being close to family and friends is very important to us.

Church Affiliation: Ruling Elder, All Saints Presbyterian Church

Mr. Nathan Dowd
Grammar School Dean

I am a graduate of Eastern Washington University with a degree in Social Studies Education. I began my teaching career in the public school and transitioned to pastoral ministry in Ephrata, Washington, where I was an associate and youth pastor for seven years. I then took over the administrator position as Head of School at New Life Christian School in 2017. I led the transition of NLCS to the classical model while also teaching logic and 7th and 8th grade humanities.

I first came in contact with classical Christian education when I read Douglas Wilson’s The Case for Classical Christian Education. From that moment on, I have jumped fully into the classical pool. My greatest desire is to help my students develop a love for reading the Great Books and seeing God’s hand in history. I also want them to catch a passion for cCe and see what a wonderful gift they have been given by this form of education.

I am married to Rachel and we have three children Molly, Liam, and Clive. We love going for walks, fellowshipping with friends and family, and playing sports. We also love supporting Arsenal FC and the L.A. Rams. My favorite thing is reading a good book with a good cup of coffee. We are so excited to be part of the Ambrose family and live in Idaho!

Church Affiliation: The King’s Congregation


Mrs. Mandi Moore
Bridge Campus Dean

M.A. Physical Therapy, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center; B.S. Multi-Disciplinary Science, Texas Tech University – College of Education; Secondary Education Teaching Certification: Composite Science Grades 6-12 – State of Texas.

While prayerfully researching education options for our oldest child, my husband and I became convinced that classical Christian education is the most effective method for raising our children to love the Lord whole-heartedly, think deeply from a Biblical worldview, love truth, goodness and beauty, and share the gospel winsomely.

This conviction led us to serve on the founding board of Cross Classical Academy (CCA) in 2010. When my husband accepted a cardiology position in Boise in 2015, our family relocated to Idaho where our two children continued their journey in classical Christian education at The Ambrose School. 

We are deeply committed to the school’s mission and are daily blessed by the community of exceptional staff and families. It has been an honor to serve at the Ambrose Bridge Campus since its conception in 2016. 

As a family, we enjoy spending time outdoors: hiking, mountain biking, running, rafting, camping, skiing as well as cooking and enjoying time with family and friends.

Church Affiliations: Christ the King Anglican Church – Meridian; Cross Classical Academy – Board President


Mrs. Kajsa Wilkins
North Campus Dean

B.A., Piano Performance, University of Idaho

I have been surrounded by classical Christian education for as long as I can remember. Both of my parents were involved in teaching and leading in the classical Christian world, and I graduated from a K-12 classical Christian school. After having children of our own, my husband and I felt that God called us to educate our children with a Biblical foundation-and that classical Christian education is the model that best provides this. We wanted our children to not only seek and be given knowledge, but to follow Christ’s command in the Great Commission-to not just be hearers of the Word, but doers of the Word.

My husband and I both have degrees in music and followed his operatic career around the country for the first 15 years of our marriage. This led us to many cities, but we were in New York for the longest period. There, I was hired to teach music by the only classical Christian school in Manhattan, and both of our children were able to attend. After several years of teaching, I began to feel called to be in administration. God provided an unexpected opportunity through the Covid lockdowns. My husband was no longer able to perform, and we began looking for the next steps. An opening arose in Wichita, Kansas at the Classical School of Wichita, and I became their Director of Academics and Fine Arts.

I am thrilled to have stepped into the role of Dean of the North Campus! Ambrose has been a staple for a long time in the world of classical Christian education, and it is so exciting to see how God is blessing the fruits of their labor! I am eager to further the mission and vision of The Ambrose School with this campus and reach even more families, growing the community throughout the city. “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Hab. 2:14

My husband, Bray, and I have two teenage children, Hobbes and Madeline. They are in high school and are excited to experience all Idaho has to offer! As a native of Idaho, I am so happy to be returning to the mountains and rivers of my home state and to get to share it with my family.

Church Affiliation: The King’s Congregation

Dr. Heather Jennings
Academic Dean

Ph.D. in English literature, University of California Davis; M.A. in English literature, Boise State University; B.A. in government, Patrick Henry College.

My engagement with classical Christian education spans nearly twenty years, from taking courses on the literature and history of Greece and Rome in high school from Andrew Kern, a leading thinker and teacher in the cCe movement; to teaching 5th then 12th grades at The Ambrose School; to writing my dissertation on habits of learning in medieval England. I appreciate how classical Christian education situates learning as an expression of loving God with all our minds, equips students to be life-long learners by approaching education not simply as dispensing information but as the formation of habits, teaches students to make connections among all subjects they study, and prepares students to be culture-makers by engaging with the art and ideas that have shaped our world.

I grew up in Boise, Idaho, and spent the past six and a half years in the Sacramento and beautiful San Francisco Bay areas, pursuing my doctorate and teaching at the University of California Davis and Sonoma State University. My husband Brian and I have two preschool aged daughters; we love to read and discuss what we’ve read, entertain, do CrossFit, and spend time in beautiful surroundings by camping, mountain biking, hiking, and traveling.

Church Affiliation: Holy Trinity Anglican Church

Mr. Kelly Barbour
Athletic Director

B.S., History, Political Science, Classics (minor), College of Idaho; J.D., University of Virginia School of Law.

I have been involved in coaching and mentoring for most of my life. Starting with teaching Sunday School as a 9th grader, I went on to coach high school baseball and serve as a youth and young adult leader while in college. I have coached youth sports for the last 27 years. From 2014 – 2017, I had the privilege of serving as the radio analyst for football broadcasts for my alma mater, the College of Idaho.

I was raised in a home that valued literature and scripture and I was exposed to a wide variety of educational environments and philosophies over the years (one-room schoolhouse, home school, private Christian school, public school, classical studies in college, law school). With that backdrop, I discovered the classical Christian world just in time to enroll my son Wyatt, and later, my second son, James, at The Ambrose School.

After serving on the Ambrose Board of Directors for several years and being exposed to the beauty of and need for classical Christian education in our world, I left behind 17+ years of private law practice and hospital administration and joined the staff of the Ambrose School in April, 2019.

Church Affiliation: Faith Community Bible Church

Mrs. Amy Yenor
Events Director

B.A., Business Communication, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

I grew up in Wisconsin, met my husband at college and when we graduated we moved to Chicago so he could attend graduate school. During that time Target entered the Chicago market. I was involved with opening new stores and making sure the stores were staffed.

Our oldest child started kindergarten at The Ambrose School. We now have four graduates and one child enrolled at the school.

The Ambrose community is our family here in Boise and we have been blessed to be involved. I coordinate the major events at the school including Serve with Compassion Day, Christmas program, the annual auction, and various other events.

Church Affiliation: Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Mrs. Nicole Ingersoll
College Advisor

Coming Soon

Mrs. Cynthia Hymer
Admissions Director

A.A., Fullerton College, Liberal Studies, Fullerton, CA. B.S., Business Management, University of Phoenix, Irvine, CA. Nouthetic Counseling Training, The Institute for Nouthetic Studies, Simpsonville, SC.  

I grew up in Northern California near our family dairy and vineyards in Sonoma County, CA.  I enjoyed everything from picking apples, from feeding the chickens, cows and calves, climbing hay bales, playing with my cousins from the hillsides to the pond, and baking with my grandmother.  I uprooted myself and traveled south in my early 20’s where I spent half of my life living and working in Southern California pursuing a college education and career.  

My husband, Brian, and I met and married the same year in 1999.  Brian, a Solutions Architect works with Quest, Inc., where he is to date. I worked for Apple, Inc. and enjoyed many years in the K12 Education Regional Sales Division.  After several years working in the corporate environment I felt called to end my professional career at Apple and retired to being a full-time wife, mom, and Homeschool Educator of our two children in the classical education model.  We moved to Idaho in 2008.  Our son is a homeschool graduate who is now attending Grand Canyon University in Arizona.  We have enjoyed Classical education for our children for many years, and when we heard about The Ambrose Bridge Campus at The Ambrose School, we knew it would be the right place for our daughter who was homeschooled through her 5th grade year. She began at Bridge, the inaugural year, in the 6th grade. She will graduate in 2024 from Ambrose’ Locust Grove campus.  

I enjoy traveling, running, long walks, staying busy with family life, and staying intimately involved in our children’s pursuits.  I love to study God’s truth through expository biblical studies, discipleship, and a desire to finish well.  

Church Affiliation: Treasure Valley Bible Church

Jonathan Jones

Mr. Jonathan Jones
Operations Director

B.A. in Bible and Piano Performance at Cairn University. Additional graduate work in Music History at Temple University. 

Inspired by the educational philosophy of my late mentor Dr. Samuel Hsu, a piano student of Mme. Rosina Lhévinne and long-time elder at the historic Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, most of my career has been committed to classical Christian education to guide the next generation back to the sources. I began teaching upper school courses, including Mathematics, Music, Physical Science, Latin, Rhetoric, Old Testament, Physical Education, Literature, and History. Then I transitioned to administration as the Headmaster of Stratford Classical Christian Academy and Principal at Tall Oaks Classical School. From 2019-2022 I took a call to pastoral ministry in Florida at Royal Palm Presbyterian Church. 

My wife Laura and I grew up in the greater Philadelphia area, and we have ten children together: Sophia, Olivia, Caleb, Naomi, Henry, Lucy, Eli, Aaron, Phoebe, and Wesley. Our family especially loves taking camping trips together to savor the treasures of America. I am an avid tennis player, a die-hard Philadelphia sports fan, and enjoy refined cuisine. We are delighted to join the Ambrose family!

Church Affiliation: The King’s Congregation

Mrs. Michele Vernon
Development Director

I began working at The Ambrose School in January 2015 when my two boys were in 4th and 7th grade. We were already part of the school family since my oldest started kindergarten at The Ambrose School, formerly Foundations Academy, in 2007. From the first time my husband and I visited the school, we knew this was the place for our kids. We love the classical Christian education and my boys are challenged academically and spiritually by teachers who love them and care about their character. As the administrative assistant, I am truly blessed to be able to work at the school where my boys attend.

My family loves the Idaho outdoors. We love water sports and to explore the Boise foothills on our mountain bikes.

Church Affiliation: Calvary Boise

Mrs. Debbie Skinner

B.S., Information Systems, University of Colorado

I started working at The Ambrose School in the fall of 2005. After helping in the classroom with anything from lunch duty to substitute teaching, I was confident I wanted to work at a place that is making an impact in our world. Working close to my children was a bonus. I started as the headmaster’s assistant working on special projects, eventually taking on additional duties as bookkeeper.

My husband and I chose a classical Christian education for our children not only for the rigorous educational experience but also because God’s word is interwoven throughout every subject. The Ambrose School guides students to live for God in all areas of their lives.

All three of my children graduated from The Ambrose School, attending from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Church Affiliation: Rock Harbor

Mrs. Susan Sawyer
Human Resource Manager

B.S., Business Marketing, University of Idaho

I was introduced to classical Christian education in college when I began dating my husband. He graduated from a classical Christian high school and spoke highly of the academics, but more importantly the emphasis on the Christ-centered education and character development. My husband and I were married in 2001. We have three wonderful children, all of whom attend the Ambrose School.

My family and I moved to Meridian from Moscow in 2017. My children attended a classical Christian school in Moscow and we were thrilled to learn that our move would allow us to continue their education at The Ambrose School. I began working as the Human Resource Assistant in 2019 and stepped into the role of Human Resource Manager when the previous manager retired in 2020.

We love all the opportunities the Treasure Valley offers to spend time together as a family. The mild winters and abundant sunshine make it an amazing place to live.

Church Affiliation: Faith Community Bible Church


Mrs. Karen Branch
Office Manager

Coming Soon

Mrs. Suzi Kramer
Graphic Designer

B.F.A., Interior Architecture with an Architecture minor, University of Idaho

Classical Christian education was not something my husband and I were familiar with, but after a lot of research we felt this was the best type of education for our kids. When our daughter started kindergarten at Ambrose in 2008, we saw firsthand what classical Christian meant and we were so grateful we had found The Ambrose School. It was an environment that not only focused on education, but the development of a student’s character, which we felt was so important. Our son started kindergarten two years later and we have been at the school ever since!

I became involved at the school when my daughter was in kindergarten. I was a homeroom parent, classroom volunteer, and volunteer graphic designer. Eventually my volunteer hours became a paid job and in 2010 I became an official employee of Ambrose. I love that I am able to work where my kids are going to school everyday.

My husband, Adam, and I have two kids: Rylee and Jackson. We love to have BBQs and movie nights in the backyard with friends and family.

Church Affiliation: Ten Mile Christian

Sara Nordio

Mrs. Sara Nordio
Uniform & Logowear Coordinator

BA Recreation Administration, Therapeutics emphasis; previously certified Recreation Therapist and Developmental Therapist

I have held interesting and fulfilling work and volunteer positions with children and adults with special needs for over 20 years and have been a service dog trainer for the past 8 years. My positions have included program manager and grant writer, volunteer coordinator, hospice care team, adaptive aquatics instructor-trainer, and university research team associate.

My family and I were unfamiliar with Classical Christian education, and when our daughter was completing her second year of preschool with Ten Mile Christian, we researched, toured schools, and talked with other Christian families that led us to The Ambrose School. I enjoy volunteering and getting to know fellow parents, teachers, and staff and I have a great appreciation for our teachers and their dedication to the students at Ambrose.

Our family loves river days with our dogs, exploring the outdoors, and spending time with friends and family!

Church Affiliation: Redeemer Church

Mrs. Lisa Miller

Coming Soon

Ms. Amber Mullenbach
Office Assistant

B.S., Family and Consumer Sciences—Early Childhood Education, minor in Biblical Studies, The Master’s University. Teaching in early education for over 10 years; administration for over 5 years.

I highly respect classical Christian education for its integration of Biblical worldview, critical-thinking skills and classical literature. I appreciate Ambrose’s emphasis on developing spiritual character, academic excellence and respectful citizenship. I am passionate about instilling virtue and a love of learning in the rising generation, as well as supporting current endeavors through organization and administration. While assisting the Ambrose office staff, I am simultaneously a preschool owner and teacher.

Outside of my weekly responsibilities, I enjoy hiking, paddle boarding, skiing, traveling and interpreting American Sign Language.

Church Affiliation: Eagle Christian Church

Mr. Nathan Luotonen
IT Assistant

Since I was a kid, technology has always fascinated me and made me curious about how it can work and apply to modern needs. Starting with my grandma first showing me how computers worked as a young kid propelled me into the field of IT. Technology has always come naturally to me and I have always done my best to fill the void of a role that does not always come naturally to some. I received my first official job in IT as a Geek Squad Agent where not just understanding technology was key, but how that relates to people and their lifestyles. I moved up to assisting in managing IT for multiple businesses and schools and eventually landed at The Ambrose School. The school’s philosophy on classical Christian education and putting Jesus at the center of it all made it a “no brainer” as to where I wanted to put my time and effort.

Growing up in Michigan for most of my life, I moved to Idaho in 2014 where I met my beautiful wife, Amariah. We married in 2021 and have two beautiful baby twin daughters that we are loving every day and learning how much we value sleep. We enjoy the outdoors with paddleboarding, biking, camping, and going on walks. My personal hobbies include gaming, going to the shooting range, and preparing my list of dad jokes for when my girls get older.

Church Affiliation: Celebration Church, Nampa


Mrs. Melissa Johnson
Events Assistant

Coming Soon.

Ms. Emily Schroeder
Communications Manager

It has been a pleasure to be part of the Ambrose community since 2022. I was homeschooled all through my school years, and while taking Jr. High and High School classes through Biola University’s Star program, I gained an appreciation for classical literature and the beauty of a Christian education. I have loved getting to know the families and faculty that make Ambrose what it is. 

I moved to Idaho in 2017, and am so grateful to be in this beautiful state. Outside of Ambrose, I am a freelance watercolor artist, and I love exploring the beauty of Idaho and the surrounding states while painting my adventures. Cooking, reading, spending time outside, and road trips are some of my favorite things. 

Church Affiliation: Riverside Community Church


Mr. Paul Brooks
Facilities Manager

United States Navy, Petty Officer 2nd Class (EMN2) 2014-2020.

The Lord has blessed me with a life full of broad sweeping experiences. I am the second of three boys raised in a Lutheran household by two faithful parents. I attended private Christian schools all the way through high school, and I enrolled in university, pursuing a STEM-related degree. But God had other plans in mind and led me to sign up for the Navy in 2014 as a part of the nuclear propulsion program. It took me from coast to coast, Singapore, Thailand, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean. I learned valuable skills and had the blessing of seeing God’s beautiful and enormous creation. If anyone wants a better sense of what God was telling Abraham about his children being as numerous as the stars in the sky, they should go out into the middle of the ocean at night.

After returning to civilian life and dabbling in the electrician trade, God sent me on my wildest adventure yet; marriage. In 2021, I married my beautiful bride, McKenzie. We have spent every day since adventuring around Idaho with our two Australian Shepherds. In my free time, I enjoy doing projects around our first home, gardening, and learning to play the guitar.

Church Affiliation: Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

Mrs. Rachel Dowd

Coming Soon
Keener, Michelle

Ms. Michelle Keener
Office Assistant

B.A. Journalism/Public Relations, California State University Fresno

Having attended Christian schools across the U.S. while growing up in the military, my faith is deep and my feet love to wander, hiking whenever I can and admiring God’s handiwork. What better place than Idaho to celebrate God’s beautiful creation! My background lies in marketing, public relations, administration, event coordination and tourism. As a Certified International Tour Manager and Certified Interpretive Guide I love hospitality with a purpose by taking care of others and making learning fun. I’m delighted to work at the Ambrose School where I can continue helping students, parents and staff on a daily basis in a Christ-centered environment.

I greatly enjoy Bible studies, reading, audio books, crafting, baking, and practicing “the art of gathering” with family and friends in an effort to slow down and build meaningful relationships. When my physical training is up to par, I love competing in Spartan races, having competed in my first obstacle race at 52 and again at 56. I’m thankful to live here in Boise close to my daughter and my parents, and help my mom navigate dad’s dementia journey.

Church Affiliation: Ten Mile Christian Church


Mrs. Rachel Wallace
Bookkeeper Assistant

Coming Soon


Mrs. Ahna Strand
Lunch Coordinator & Testing Coordinator

B.A. Biology, Pacific Lutheran University; M.H.A. University of Minnesota

My husband Jonathan and I have four children, all Ambrose students. We appreciate the classical school unification of eternal truths with practical pedagogical practices, and value the pursuit of virtue, elevation of beauty, and integration of faith that characterizes the classical Christian school. In my free time, I volunteer at church, read, cook, and embroider.

Church Affiliation: Good Shepherd Lutheran